The Royal Stables, a majestic building in itself, dates from the epoch of King Gustav Vasa in the 16th century who built them on Helgeandsholmen, close to Stockholm Palace, the official residence of the King, in 1535. However, for over 100 years, the Royal Stables have been located near Strandvagen in Ostermalm in the city centre.
The stables are headed by the Crown Equerry. He is in charge of looking after the principal means of transportation of the King and the royal family. The stables house about 50 horse-driven carriages, numerous sleighs and coaches as well as cars of the royal family and over 20 horses for the use by the rulers.
Horses and carriages are used for ceremonial and official occasions such as incoming state visits, State Opening of Parliament, formal audiences at which the King receives new ambassadors and municipal visits.
Though the Royal Stables are open to the public through guided tours, the best day to observe them is the Royal Stables Day when a series of special programmes are organised for the benefit of the visitors, who get to see the manège, the blacksmith’s workshop, two coach sheds, a garage, with its unique, historic cars and also the King’s private cars.
“When you enter you are taken to the harness room that is used during the state ceremonies. Then you will be taken to the vintage car and then to the stable that is open to the public. The horses are very friendly,” says Riddhi Roy, Head of Operations of Dolphin Global Tours and Travels, a Kolkata-based tour operator, who visited the Royal Stables on the Royal Stables Day.
There were about 150 tourists were there when we visited. A number of activities were planned on the special occasion. We first witnessed the Mounted Orchestra Parade, which was followed by Royal Carriages Parade and then to conclude an impressive Mounted Police Parade,” Roy tells India Outbound.
There are numerous musical performances throughout the day while the visitors go on their own to explore the stables at their pace. To make the day special, the Royal Stables also bring a magician to show some tricks to the visitors. The events last over four hours from noon onwards and it costs about INR 1,000.
There is also a café with indoor and outdoor seating. Hotdogs and burgers are also sold at the coach shed arch during Royal Stables Day.
(Riddhi Roy is the head of operations of Global Tours and Travels, a travel firm based in Kolkata that aims to fulfil travel dreams in affordable yet luxurious ways.)